Oxford Mining seeks Corps permit for Briar Hill mine

Oxford Mining Co.-Kentucky LLC is pursuing a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit on an amended area for the Briar Hill strip mine in Muhlenberg County, Ky.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Louisville, Ky., will be taking public comment on the application until Nov. 13.

The project is on unnamed tributaries and associated wetlands of Little Cypress Creek, located south of Central City in Muhlenberg County, said a Corps public notice. The proposed project would result in discharges of fill and/or dredged material into “waters of the United States” within the 75-acre permit area called Briar Hill Amendment #4, which is pending approval by the Kentucky Division of Mining Permits. The applicant is proposing to impact the following: 1,401 linear feet of ephemeral and intermittent streams; 5.7 acres of palustrine forested (PFO) and palustrine emergent wetlands; and 7.5 acres of open water.

The company’s preferred alternative, has taken into consideration various mining methods to maximize the opportunities for avoidance and minimization measures, the Corps noted. The applicant has reduced direct mining impacts within the 75-acre permit area down to 43 acres. Through this evaluation, the applicant has been able to plan the operation so as to avoid impacts to 1,801 linear feet of intermittent and perennial streams, 13.1 acres of wetlands, and 0.2 acre of open waters.

Oxford Mining Co.-Kentucky, a unit of Oxford Resource Partners (NYSE: OXF), has lately been after two other Corps permits.

  • The company is seeking a Section 404 permit for the 400-acre Geibel strip mine located west of Greenville in Muhlenberg County. The Corps is taking public comment on the application until Nov. 5. “The proposed project area, approved by the Kentucky Divison of Mine Permits (KDMP) Permit No. 889-0130, is a 400 acre surface coal mining operation using a combination of the open strip pit method and highwall mining,” said a Corps public notice. “Only 1.72 acres of the project site have been previously mined.”
  • The Corps is taking public comment until Nov. 2 on a Section 404 application for the Rose France strip mine located southeast of Central City in Muhlenberg County. “The proposed project area, Kentucky Division of Mine Permits (KDMP) Permit No. 889-0153-AM-1, is a 214-acre expansion of an existing surface coal mining operation (KDMP permit No. 889-0153),” said a Corps public notice. “The proposed operation will use the open strip pit method of mining. Approximately 48% of the project area has been previously mined.”

Oxford Resource Partners has recently cut back its western Kentucky coal output and shifted some of the mine equipment from that region to its Ohio mines due to soft markets and the loss earlier this year of a contract to supply 800,000 tons per year to Big Rivers Electric. Oxford and Big Rivers have been battling in a Kentucky court about that contract termination. Oxford’s western Kentucky mines have other business with customers like Louisville Gas & Electric.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.